…is wonderfully summarized by Don Pogreba over at Intelligent Discontent:
In stops in Butte and Ekalaka, Gianforte repeated his refusal to offer a substantive comment on Right to Work, no doubt because he simply doesn’t want to tell the truth: that he will certainly sign any Right to Work legislation authored by a Republican Legislature. The audio from Butte is incredibly dishonest. Asked repeatedly if he would sign Right to Work legislation, Mr. Gianforte kept retreating into a political non-answer about “not making it a priority” before wandering off to a talking point about his high school football days. Seriously.
He’s hoping no one will notice how extreme he is, but I don’t think Montanans are that intolerant or stupid.
And if you want an excellent overview of this “scientist”‘s definitely un-science-y views on biology, sexuality and psychology, go here.
This man would be a disaster for Montana.
Governor Bullock released the following statement on the City of Bozeman passing an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations:
“Tonight, Bozeman has shown important leadership in protecting their residents and visitors from discrimination. Discrimination is bad for the state’s economy and businesses, as well as contrary to the freedoms we expect as Montanans. I encourage other Montana communities to follow suit in the near future.”
The NDO passed unanimously with all commissioners and Mayor Krauss voting- Deputy Mayor Carson Taylor was absent, but since he introduced the measure, I’m calling it unanimous.
It was a bit anticlimactic. No one spoke during public comment time, and no visible opponents could be identified in the crowd. However, there were at least 40 members of the community visibly wearing “Support Fairness Dignity Security” stickers. I sat with some veteran activists- and there were a few tears- but mostly this was as expected. Bozeman is a welcoming community and recognizes that fairness and dignity are vital components of community structure.
Are you willing to put the economic future of your city at the mercy of fundamentalist hysteria?
If so, just watch Bozeman take over as the leading economic force in the state….
The terrible events in Newtown sent my mind racing this weekend. I kept coming back to where we in Montana stand on preventing gun violence in our state. It was clear that we’re not just moving in the wrong direction on preventing gun violence in Montana we’re racing in the wrong direction.
The best way to illustrate this point is by looking at the work of Sen. Dave Lewis (R-Helena). Last session, Sen. Lewis chaired the Senate Finance & Claims Committee (the primary Senate budget committee), and, as chair, he slashed funding for crucial services- including mental health services. He and his Republican colleagues maintained that the state didn’t have enough money to pay for treating and providing support for those with mental illness (and some other issues as well).
While Lewis was busy slashing services for Montanans, he sponsored a bill that would have given tax cuts to gun ammunition manufacturers to “ensure availability.”
So in Sen. Dave Lewis’ world, we have enough money to give ammunition manufacturers tax cuts, but we don’t have the money to provide mental health counselling for Montana’s most vulnerable people.
While I do find Lewis to be one of the most detestable political figures in Montana history, this post isn’t about him. It’s about the fact that through their decisions, Montana’s elected officials are making our communities more vulnerable to the types of gun violence we’ve seen throughout the country over the past few years.
In the 2011 legislative session, there were 13 bills introduced related to guns and firearms. Only 2 of these bills could be construed as gun control measures. The rest would have done things to allow guns in banks, bars and other buildings. These bills would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons (simply by telling themselves they were allowed to), and would have even allowed students in public schools to bring guns on campus.
We as a state, much like the country, have to get beyond partisan dogfights over guns and gun violence, and have an honest effort to pass policies that will keep our communities safer. These policies must deal with not only rules about who, when, and where you can carry guns, but they must also deal with ensuring adequate mental health services for all Montanans.
I’ll be honest, I don’t expect our elected officials to display the courage to push responsible gun control laws. But I do think we have an opportunity to tackle the mental health aspect of the puzzle.
The Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act is our best chance to expand mental health coverage to tens of thousands of currently uninsured Montanans. This expansion is the part of the Affordable Care Act(ACA) that the US Supreme Court ruled states had the option of whether or no to implement.
Unfortunately, this expansion is sure to get marred by political games by Republicans who refuse to vote in support of anything related to the ACA. While Republicans may hold majorities in the legislature, Democrat Steve Bullock will hold the Governor’s office, and its bully pulpit and veto pen. He should use this bully pulpit and veto pen to ensure the Medicaid expansion is implemented in our state.
Governor Schweitzer accounted for the expansion in his final budget proposal, but thus far Bullock hasn’t said whether or not he’ll push for the expansion.
I hope that the horrible events of Friday will provide Bullock with a little more incentive to champion the expansion of Medicaid as a means of preventing gun violence in our state, without taking on a battle over gun control laws that he almost certainly cannot win with the legislature. If Bullock does this, we’ll begin to finally take small steps towards preventing gun violence in Montana.
…and so does Jon Tester, Kim Gillan, Pam Bucy, Denise Juneau and, locally, Tom Woods.
And, as I explained in a previous post, here’s why:
I’m voting for the candidate who most represents my views, just as everyone should. I’m against the death penalty, want women to make their own choices about their health, support legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and am a fan of higher education and preserving a clean planet. I want healthcare and insurance companies to be reasonable and efficient- and treat people with mental illness and substance issues with dignity and respect. I want the justice system to be fair to all citizens. I want church and state to be separate. I want the poor and disadvantaged to be given every chance to succeed.
The Democratic Candidates in this election most closely reflect these views.
And, I believe, have the most experience and qualifications under their collective belts.
None of the Republicans even come close.